Digital Graphic Recording
If you’d like to know more about graphic recording on paper instead, please see here.
Graphic recording; graphic harvesting; visual thinking; sketchnoting – it’s a practice with lots of different names, used interchangeably, but they all follow the same principle. The graphic recorder works at conferences and events to gather key learnings, create engaging visuals and spark joy and conversation.
What does a graphic harvester actually do?
The graphic harvester is hired to bring their unique skill set to an event – it could be a large corporate conference or an intimate community workshop. They set up in an area of the venue where they can hear the speaker(s) and see any on-screen presentation, but not distract from them. This is usually at the back of the room.
While the event is underway, the graphic recorder takes notes during the talks, picks out key points and draws a visualisation or multiple visualisations of the day’s proceedings digitally, using either an iPad or a desktop set-up with a digital drawing tablet. Unlike traditional paper graphic harvesters where they have a physical display that the attendees in the room can see, these visualisations are all digital.
They can be shared online by the events team throughout the session and afterwards, and be a part of your social media campaign on the day.
They can be made available to be display on large screens during breaks if coordinated with your tech team.
Post-event they can be used in-house and utilised in post-event summaries and reports.
It’s a creative and dynamic way of refreshing attendees memories with what they’ve learned and they can leave with the important points still on their mind. The conversations can occur among delegates online after the event allowing them to discuss and share the content, and the event’s reach to be extended.
Do I need a graphic harvester at my event?
It depends on what you want to get out of the day. The goals of graphic recording digitally are to:
1. Document the journey
The day’s learnings and key points from speakers are visually mapped, with the series of images produced standing as both an event reminder and as proof of the event’s outcomes.
2. Engage attendees
The imagination of delegates is captured as they see the ideas of the day brought to life online. Attendees often take share content to their own social channels. These images are not just for show – they engage visual learners and are a catalyst for meaningful conversations.
3. Create an event with impact
Attendees leave with key takeaways that will stick with them long after the buzz from the day is over.
Choosing a Graphic Recorder:
The majority of professional graphic recorders will be experienced and highly credible; so I think the most useful thing to do once you’ve ascertained that is to take a look at examples of their work to see if they would be a good fit for what you’re looking for.
Here’s a few things to look for:
- The quality of the content that has been captured is vital – Is the information useful? Is it clear?
- Graphic recorders are keen listeners and visual thinkers but they’re also artists; And just like you may have a preference for a particular art style, you may have a particular style of graphic recording that you prefer. Does their art style appeal to you? With digital graphic recording there can be a huge variety in the style – some may offer both a loose drawing style (similar to a paper harvest) and a more polished graphic option depending on your requirements.
- Some graphic recorders like myself who work digitally also offer graphic recording on paper. Some offer optional add-ons to their service like digital illustrations, animated GIFs etc. If pre and post-event work is something you’d like to incorporate that may also be something to consider.
- Some may be able to offer you a larger team for bigger events e.g. for conferences with lots of sessions or events that require a more intense level of output I work with a team of journalists and recorders who can capture and create alongside me.